The Paranoia of 2 A.M.

Something from awhile back… (what is it about 2AM?! I’m noticing a theme here!)

It’s 2:00 A.M. It’s dead quiet.

My husband agreed to be the first one up tonight, and I thought that meant rest for me. But here I am, unable to resist the urge to check on what is obviously a peacefully sleeping baby. I roll out from under my cozy covers, and make the familiar short trek over to the nursery just a few feet away. I tiptoe on sugar glass into my daughter’s room, the door barely making a whisper against the carpet. Groping around blindly, I flick the dim closet light on.

Good, that didn’t wake her. I peek into the crib, watching with eagle eyes for my daughter’s little lungs filling, a quiet hush of breaths coming in and out.

Shit.

She’s face-down on her stomach, an arm lodged between the crib rails. She’s obviously breathing fine and somehow contentedly fast asleep in that awkward position. An inner battle begins. Should I flip her over, which will most likely wake her and my husband from their peaceful slumber? Or do I leave her be, since she’s obviously fine? She’s got amazing head control at 4.5 months old, I’ve seen her turn from uncomfortable positions numerous times. She coughs and turns her head. SHIT. Now she’s facing away from the fan, which we left on for air circulation.

I stand there, frozen. She is fine. And asleep. I wish I could just teleport her away from the crib rails three inches. I grit my teeth and reach in, knowing if there were even the faintest possibility of her being unable to move her head while we’re asleep, it could have unthinkable consequences. I scoot her back into a safer position. She barely stirs, thank heaven.

Flick. Off with the closet light. Then I hover over her for what seems like an eternity. Flick. The light’s back on and I’m watching her tiny chest rise and fall. No, she’s still too close to the crib rails. I reach in again, moving her tiny arm further from the gap in the rails. She sighs, still sleeping, but barely. When I finally realize my back hurts and she’s not going anywhere, I slowly make my way back out of the nursery.

I climb back into bed, my mind racing. What if she moves again while I’m asleep? My back screams at me for lurching over the crib for so long. But it doesn’t matter because my daughter is safe, and my job is to make sure of that.
The funny thing is, as parents we lose sleep when our kids are awake at night, but they’ll never know how often we’ve been awake when they’re asleep–just to make sure they’re okay, even when we know they are. Am I paranoid? Probably. But the line between careful parenting and plain paranoia is just so damn thin.

I lay there with one ear and one eye permanently open, the nursery in direct earshot, just waiting for when I’m needed. Rest won’t come easy.
I get back up…and check on her again.


 

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